Difference between Fibrocystic Breast Changes and Fibroadenoma of the Breast on Operation and Palpation

Difference between Fibrocystic Breast Changes and Fibroadenoma of the Breast on Operation and Palpation

Difference between Fibrocystic Breast Changes and Fibroadenoma of the Breast on Operation and Palpation

Fibroadenoma is a non-cancerous breast mass while fibrocystic breast changes are usually considered hormonal changes.

Picture above: Fibroadenoma – Note the presence of a whitish dominant mass with a clear border.

Picture above: Fibrocystic Breast Changes – Note the absence of a dominant mass; the whitish or pinkish breast tissues blend with the fatty tissues.

Correlating with the physical examination findings on palpation, fibrocystic changes usually present with a lumpy breast and fibroadenoma usually presents with a dominant mass.  Note: Depending on its characteristics, a dominant mass may be a fibroadenoma,  a macrocyst, phyllodes tumor, or even a cancer.

A palpable dominant mass with clear border which turns out to be a fibroadenoma.

The  appearance of the whole fibroadenoma right after removal, solid with well-defined and clear border.

The appearance of the fibroadenoma upon cutting it into half to look at the inner side which appears whitish and fibrous.

The appearance on operation of a fibrocystic breast change with no dominant mass, which is considered a normal breast tissue.

Other samples of fibrocystic breast changes – no dominant mass with blending of the whitish or pinkish areas with the yellow fatty tissues of the breast -again, to repeat, considered normal breast tissues.

In medical practice, fibrocystic breast changes are considered normal and do not need treatment, particularly operation.  However, sometimes, it may be hard to differentiate fibrocystic breast changes from breast cancers.  Thus, at times, patients are being operated on for dominant masses suspected to be cancers but which eventually turn out to be fibrocystic breast changes.

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